New research from employee benefits provider Personal Group's Gender Happiness Gap research suggests that women are happier than men at work. The group surveyed over 1,200 UK employees about their happiness, enthusiasm, pride and efficiency at work, and it found that, while the gender pay gap is in men's favor, women are actually happier.
While 45 percent of female staff are happy most of the time at work, the same could only be said for 38 percent of male staff. Amongst women, the 30-to-49-year-old age group is the unhappiest, which the researchers believe could be due to juggling family life alongside work commitments. Meanwhile, enthusiasm at work increases with seniority for both genders but, in a similar way that the gender pay gap compounds as an employee’s career progresses, as does the enthusiasm gap. Thirty-seven percent of frontline female employees report feeling enthusiastic about work "often/most of the time" versus only 30 percent of male frontline employees. And, by the time women reach the top of their organization, as directors or company owners, 70 percent are enthusiastic about their job "often/most of the time," versus only half of male company owners and directors.
"We all want a more a productive workforce, one that reflects the customers we serve and the communities we are a part of," Mark Scanlon, chief executive officer at Personal Group said, according to Business Leader. "To do this, it is important to create a more gender-balanced and diverse working environment for employees."
He added that the results make it clear that "more money doesn’t result in greater workplace happiness." And while the gender pay gap indeed still needs closing, it's important to still understand why women do seem happier at work.
1. Women often choose more fulfilling work.
Ninety-five percent of professional women feel their job is important and worthwhile at least some of the time (with 72 percent feeling this often or most of the time). And, in contrast, only 78 percent of male professionals feel their job is worthwhile at least some of the time (with less than half feeling their job is important and worthwhile often or most of the time), according to the study. This is perhaps because women statistically choose more impactful work.
2. Women work efficiently.
Only 73 percent of male frontline employees feel they are working efficiently at least some of the time, while 84 percent of female frontline employees feel they are working efficiently at least some of the time, according to the research.
3. Women are more enthusiastic about their work.
According to the study, women appear to be naturally more enthusiastic about their work. More women (44 percent) than men (35 percent) report that they are enthusiastic about their job most of the time. And, by the time women reach the top of their organization as director or company owner, 70 percent are enthusiastic about their job often or most of the time, versus only half of male company owners and directors. Perhaps this is because women have to work harder to get there.
4. Women may have lower aspirations.
"Some say they are just cheerier than men, but it could also be that their aspirations are lower," said Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick, who carried out a similar survey.
5. Women's success is seen as victorious.
"When women succeed it is seen as a victory, but for men it is expected — this puts pressure on them," Ruth Lea, head of policy at the Institute of Directors, had added about the same aforementioned study.
6. Some women are just happy to have a job.
"The young are happy to have a job," Oswald added.
7. Women have different expectations that aren't quite as high.
One paper's proposed explanation appeals to the notion of relative well-being, especially relative to workers' expectations. In other words, an identical man and woman with the same jobs and expectations would report identical job satisfaction, but women's expectations are argued to be lower than men's.
8. Women are more engaged at work.
According to previous research called Study in Leadership: Women Do it Better Than Men, women are more engaged in the workplace and are therefore more likely to have a stronger focus on their personal development.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.